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Bridgeport, Conn. Bulk Gasoline Storage Facility Fined for Clean Air Violations

Release Date: 04/02/2008
Contact Information: Dave Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – April 2, 2008) – A gasoline bulk terminal will retire two vapor storage tanks and pay a $75,000 fine under the terms of a settlement with EPA for Clean Air violations.

The terminal, located in Bridgeport, Conn., is owned by Motiva Enterprises LLC, a subsidiary of Shell Oil Company. Motiva’s terminal loads gasoline into tanker trucks – a process that generates large quantities of gasoline vapors containing volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”). The gasoline vapors are controlled by two large vapor storage tanks and a carbon-bed vapor recovery unit. EPA alleged that the vapor storage tanks (“bladder tanks”) were improperly maintained and leaked VOC-containing vapors, in violation of the federal Clean Air Act.

In addition to the fine, the EPA settlement requires Motiva to permanently retire the two bladder tanks. Motiva will install a new, larger capacity vapor recovery unit that will eliminate the need for the bladder tanks at the terminal. The new vapor recovery unit will be installed by the end of 2008, at an estimated cost of over $1 million.

“It’s important that facilities that handle large volumes of fuels take appropriate steps to prevent emissions of pollutants to the air,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Installing a larger capacity system to control gasoline vapors will help protect public health in the nearby, densely populated neighborhoods of Bridgeport.”

A June 2006 inspection of the facility conducted jointly by EPA and the Conn. Dept. of Environmental Protection discovered the violations. The Motiva terminal is located among several low-income and minority neighborhoods.

Like other bulk terminals, Motiva’s Bridgeport facility stores gasoline in large above-ground tanks, then pumps the gasoline through a series of loading racks into tanker trucks for delivery to local filling stations. EPA regulations require that terminals collect and control their VOC-containing gasoline vapors generated by these loading operations.

VOC pollution is of special concern in Connecticut, since VOCs are a main contributor to ground-level ozone and smog. Ground-level ozone irritates people’s respiratory systems, causing coughing and throat irritation; it can also aggravate asthma and damage lung cells, and may cause permanent lung damage. Further, Connecticut is in nonattainment for EPA's national 8-hour ozone standard, meaning that annual average exposure to ozone pollution exceeds EPA’s health standards.

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